Fentanyl Drives a Fourfold Increase in Drug Overdose Deaths Over Two Decades

By iMedix
Updated 2024-03-28 16:46:39 | Published 2024-03-28 16:46:39
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A highly realistic illustration depicting the impact of death on people

The rate of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. has quadrupled since 2002, with fentanyl playing a major role in this increase. Experts attribute this surge to the contamination of illegal cocaine supplies with fentanyl. In 2022, drug overdose fatalities approached 108,000, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In that year, unintentional injuries, including drug overdoses, were the third most common cause of death in the U.S., following heart disease and cancer.

Regarding the specifics of drug-related deaths, the CDC noted in 2022 that 107,941 individuals succumbed to drug overdoses, translating to 32.6 deaths per 100,000 people. This is a slight uptick from 2021's figures. The overdose death rate among men increased marginally from 2021 to 2022, whereas it decreased slightly for women.

Research in 2023 highlighted that men are disproportionately affected by fatal overdoses, not only from opioids but also from substances like methamphetamine and cocaine. This gender disparity in drug use and subsequent overdose deaths is consistent nationwide.

The impact of synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, has been particularly devastating. From 2013 to 2022, the death rate involving these substances skyrocketed.

A significant portion of Americans has been personally affected by these overdose deaths. A Rand Corporation survey revealed that over 40% of American adults know someone who died from an overdose, with about a third stating that such a death had a profound impact on their lives. Extrapolating from census data, the study estimated that roughly 125 million adults in the U.S. have experienced the repercussions of a drug overdose death in their community.

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